I told ya’ll I wouldn’t lose, and I totally thought I was lying when I said it, but then I won all four of my matches at the Jiu-Jitsu tournament yesterday! I won the gi matches by submission, and the no gi by points. I earned my very first gold medals for grappling!
Both of my opponents were white belts, but they were also young enough to be my daughters, and my gi competitor outweighed me by 27 pounds. That was Claire, an 18 year-old recent addition to the Roseberry’s Jiu-Jitsu family. I have to give her huge props for competing, and she did well for her first tournament, especially after just a short amount of training. She and I were the only women signed up in gi, so we had to go against each other. In our first match I got the takedown (which would have been an ippon in Judo, and then the match would have been over…um, remind me again why I don’t just do Judo ;). Sadly, Joe did not get the takedown on film, but I think it was o soto gari. I won that match by getting mount and submitting her with a kimura. In the second match she jumped guard on me (because Sara told her “If you don’t want to get thrown, jump guard!” ;) and then I spent way too long trying to pass her guard before finally getting her in my guard and tapping her with juji gatame.
There were two other women signed up in no gi, so Claire and I did get to compete against outside opponents. Mine was Shelby, a 19 year-old who weighed in at 118 pounds. My official weight was 122, so I had a few pounds on her. Our first match went the full time, and both of us were pretty exhausted, it took us a few seconds to get up when we were done! I also got the takedown on that match, but it’s hard to see on the video because the ref with dorky socks is in the way. I won the match 10-4, plus I had two advantages. At the end I had her in a choke and she was gurgling a little bit. She even tried to tap a few times, but her coach wouldn’t let her, and she held out until time was called. She was a warrior!
In our second match I resorted to jumping guard, so I didn’t get any takedown points, but I still won that match 14-0. With about thirty seconds left I realized she was bleeding, so I alerted the ref (Conan) and he and the medic (Sara) ended the match. I think I accidentally elbowed her, and she bit her lip pretty badly. I was afraid she was going to need stitches, but she was a great sport about it, and she even apologized for bleeding on me! It was an accident, but I still feel really bad. Coincidentally, I also bit my lip during that match, but not hard enough to draw blood. A couple of examples of why you should wear a mouth guard when you compete!
I have all of my match videos uploaded on my YouTube channel, but I’m just going to embed my first no gi match here, because it was the craziest, and therefore my favorite. I even went for a toe hold, but I had my hands backward! At about 4:22 I almost took her back from standing, which was pretty awesome. By the way, I am wearing shorts, not gi pants, in this video…my legs are just really, really, really white!
For the most part, I’m satisfied with my performance at the tournament. I basically stuck to my game plan; which was to have no game plan, just to relax and go with the flow. Apparently there were several people trying to coach me, but the only familiar voice I really remember hearing was Sara’s. If I had actually done what she told me to, it would’ve been helpful! In my final no gi match I do remember hearing Ray yelling like he was Lil Jon “Get low! Get low!”. He was a little disappointed in me for not sticking to the principles of Jiu-Jitsu at all times, like he told me to. Conan said I had an uncanny knack for getting underhooks, but then I had a bad habit of just letting them go.
There’s definitely room for improvement (lots and lots of improvement!), but I won two gold medals and I have to admit, it feels pretty good. They’re really cool medals too, they have the Roseberry’s Jiu-Jitsu patch on them! They’ll just go in the closet with the rest, but it’s nice to have a little validation for how hard I have worked, and how far I have come. I didn’t surrender, I didn’t back down, I didn’t lose, and I didn’t get hurt…Woohoo!